Publication Details

Heffernan, E., Pan, W., Liang, X. & de Wilde, P. (2015). Zero carbon homes: Perceptions from the UK construction industry. Energy Policy, 79 23-36.


The take-up of the many voluntary energy efficiency standards which exist in the UK and internationally has been limited. As a result, governments have recognised the need to introduce mandatory schemes through legislation, e.g. from 2016 all new build homes in the UK will be required to achieve zero carbon in regulated energy consumption. However, as 2016 approaches, very few zero carbon homes are being delivered. This paper explores the drivers and barriers for zero carbon homebuilding. The perceptions of the wider construction industry were gathered through a series of semi-structured interviews with professionals involved in commissioning, designing, constructing and regulating housing. The results show that, whilst drivers for zero carbon homebuilding exist, the barriers are currently perceived to be greater than the drivers. The barriers are categorised into five groups: economic, skills and knowledge, industry, legislative and cultural. Mechanisms for policy and industry support for the delivery of zero carbon homes are identified to address these barriers. The research findings highlight the need for a clear and robust policy framework for the forthcoming standard. The Government and industry must prioritise raising public awareness of the need for and benefits of zero carbon homes to help develop market demand.



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